A portfolio is not just a record of your work, and it’s defiantly not a compilation of your illustrations, photographs, or logo bank, it instead is a window to your passion for design and an expression of yourself. A design recruiter can easily gauge design aesthetic, illustration skill, software comfort, composition, and typographic knowledge, at a glance! Unless exceptional, these are not reasons to hire, but just reasons to keep a designer in the running.
Your professional and personal life experiences, as well as your personality, give you a unique lens to comprehend the world, which becomes a unique strength to add to a team. The challenge is finding the right team and an alignment that works for both you and the organisation. This can only be understood if you showcase what makes you tick, which will speak volumes to the right person.
T he last 5 years have shown a shift in portfolio content that we at Elephant Design find exciting and promising in the young designers we meet. The following practices, in particular, have caught my attention:
Not Just Design But Thinking
Anyone looking at your portfolio should feel curious in a few minutes, do not demonstrate only skill but also process. Show how you understood the context, competition, and consumer. Highlight why you made those choices.
Not Output But The Outcome
Design is about emotion and behaviour. Talk about how you wanted people to feel and what you wanted them to do, and then tell us how you made it happen.
Today everyone has a digital portfolio, whether a website or a page on a portfolio site, keep it simple and easy to navigate.
A recruiter will spend only a few minutes on your portfolio, so highlight the role you have played in different projects or different teams. Equally important is to be clear about the role you are looking for and why.
Put in the effort to understand the bigger picture, the team, the organisation, and where their market is going; feature work that is relevant to them.
Whether college event brochures or freelance work, it is vitally important that designers show the initiative to work independently and the interest to move from academia to real-world assignments.
Build A Conversation
No one expects young designers to have all the right answers, but it is refreshing when they ask considered questions or showcase relevant areas of inquiry. In short, work towards landing your dream job. Showcase your best self, tailor your portfolio to the organisation and what they want. As with most of us, it doesn’t happen immediately. Keep your eye out for the right opportunities and build the relevant portfolio that will get you there